ORLANDO–Ten observations from Magic 110, Hawks 106 (overtime) . . .
1. This was a good effort by the Hawks after the dispiriting home loss to the Nets on Monday but they faded in the fourth quarter and overtime, with turnovers, rebounding and missed shots around the basket as the main culprits. The misses at the basket were especially nettlesome for the Hawks. “Sometimes it be like that,” Dennis Schroder said. “You can’t control if the ball goes in the basket but we can control how we play defense. I think the last couple of possessions, they got the rebound. (Nikola) Vucevic (16 rebounds) bullied us and got the rebounds and Aaron Gordon under the basket. We’ve got to do better than that.”
2. Kent Bazemore made a three to put the Hawks up 95-93 with 1:33 to go but it was ruled a shot clock violation after a video review. The Hawks got the ball back when Ersan Ilyasova drew a charging foul but he and Dennis Schroder missed layups with Vucevic hounding them and the Magic rebounded. The Hawks forced a Magic miss and rebounded, leading to Schroder’s two free throws, and then DeAndre’ Bembry stole Fournier’s errant pass leading to two free throws by Bazemore for a three-point lead. But D.J. Augustin made a 3 to tie it with 6.2 seconds left, and Marco Belinelli couldn’t get off a shot before the end of regulation.
Coach Mike Budenholzer: “A lot of plays down the stretch that could have gone either way and you feel like we didn’t get a break whether it’s just a half a second more on the clock for a three or the (offensive) goaltending, things like that. It would be great to catch one break and they made a big shot to send it into overtime. Give Augustin credit for making the shot and Vucevic for making the pass. They just made a couple more plays than us in the overtime. But a lot of positives for our guys, I think they are getting better, we are playing better.”
3. Budenholzer on choosing not to foul on Orlando’s final possession: “That’s something we discuss in coaches’ meetings and talk a lot about. We felt like we had a good chance to get a stop and trust our defense. It’s something you always debate as a staff. Each situation is a little bit different and we chose not to foul tonight.”
Said Schroder: “I think it’s a good decision not to foul. If they make it, we go to overtime; if they miss it, we win the game.
4. The Hawks were up seven with less than nine minutes to go when a key sequence shifted momentum. Bembry missed an open finger roll after making strong move to the basket, leading to Aaron Gordon’s and-1. Bembry later stumbled on a drive and lost the ball, leading to an Augustin score. And after Schroder missed an open layup on a perfectly-executed play following a timeout, Evan Fournier scored in transition as four Hawks defenders failed to stop him. Suddenly the Magic were down two. They tied it with 6:57 to play as the home crowd came to life, and they went ahead with four minutes to play.
5. The Hawks dominated the second quarter 29-13. The Magic shot 5-of-15 in the quarter and also had nine turnovers, five of them via Hawks steals. The Magic were sloppy but the Hawks did their usual good work stalking the passing lanes and getting deflections. That was especially true for Bembry, who is the kind of defensive pest on the wing that the Hawks need on the second unit. Bembry also got into the paint often against the Magic on drives but was sloppy with the ball (five turnovers in 22 minutes). His lackluster pass was intercepted by Elfrid Payton for a steal and layup that put the Magic up 102-101, and Bembry’s basket interference erased a score on the next possession.
Bembry: “A couple of the turnovers I made towards the end of the game you just can’t have.”
6. Taurean Prince had a very efficient and productive game: 16 points on eight shots (including a three-pointer that got the Hawks within 108-106), six rebounds, one assist, no turnovers. He’s shooting the ball well this season. Consistency is the next step.
7. The Hawks made their run mostly while using “center-less” lineups with Ersan Ilyasova or Tyler Cavanaugh at the five. That’s likely why Budenholzer began the second half with Cavanaugh at center instead of Miles Plumlee. Cavanaugh (six rebounds in 30 minutes) did a respectable job banging in the paint with Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo. He also was effective when switching on to guards in pick-and-rolls and scored 13 points on 10 shots.
8. Schroder (26 points on 26 shots, seven assists, two turnovers) still is trying to figure out how to be a primary scorer and play-maker. He can get by anyone on drives but goes through stretches where he gets too deep instead of taking available shots in the mid-range, or kick out to teammates. Schroder struggled to finish at the rim in the fourth quarter but did make a layup to put the Hawks up 92-91. “I think I could have made my layups and that (game) would have been easy,” Schroder said. “I take that on me.”
9. The Magic led 31-23 after the first quarter in large part because of their seven offensive rebounds, 10 second-chance points and 20 points in the paint. Plumlee and Ersan Ilyasova were having a hard time keeping Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon away from the boards.
10. Within the first three minutes of the game Plumlee threw up two wild, awkward shots on drives to the basket. After the second one, Budenholzer quickly summoned Cavanaugh off the bench to replace him. Plumlee was much better in the second half. He had an alley-oop dunk, two putback slams, two rebounds and a charge drawn in a four-minute run during the third quarter.
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